Treatment and prevention
We advise many of our patients to have regular visits with the dental hygienist who will help maintain the health of your mouth. The role of the hygienist is to clean around and under the gum line to remove plaque and tartar (a scale and polish) and perhaps most importantly to help educate – providing the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain a healthy mouth and fresh breath in between appointments.
The hygienist’s role
Hygienists are key members of the Practice team. We all know the saying “Prevention is better than cure” and the hygienist plays a very important role in this prevention. Professional plaque removal and excellent home care is crucial to the prevention and treatment of gum disease and the problems it causes, which are caused solely by the build up of dental plaque.
Plaque itself is soft and will come off with a brush, but often it is missed because of imperfect cleaning techniques. The hygienist will help you to address this. She will also discuss any dietary issues which may be contributing to dental decay.
It is our experience that patients who previously suffered problems with decay, often experience far less decay subsequently when under regular hygienist care.
Hygienists are also able to apply fissure sealants (special plastic coatings) to the biting surfaces of teeth to help prevent decay and also to apply topical fluoride gels to help prevent decay in other areas.
Treatment of gum disease is not a simple quick –fix process and a series of appointments are often needed with the hygienist before things are fully under control. Occasionally, for patients with advanced gum disease who do not respond to treatment referral to a gum specialist (Periodontist) may be necessary.
All hygienists are not the same
Hygienists vary enormously in their approach. It is important to find a hygienist who you feel comfortable with and are happy to see on a regular basis.
A word of caution
While hygienists are invaluable in the control of disease, it is however worth noting that for healthy mouths, too much cleaning from even the gentlest hygienist can be detrimental. Hygienist appointments are only available under the prescription of the dentist.